Hunters offer to hunt feral pigs for free at Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden
Feral pigs have been a nuisance at Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe for years. Now, hunters are offering the city to take care of the problem for free.
The gardens beautiful landscape attracts hundreds of visitors. But, the lush plant life is also attracting hundreds of feral pigs that leave destructive tracks.
"We have seen an increase in feral pig damage there. The feral pigs are really aggressive. They root in the ground looking for worms and they can just tear up entire sections and turn them into mud bogs," said Jesse Broder Van Dyke, communications director for Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
The damage has been getting worse since September when the city did not renew its contract with trappers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Now, hunting groups are saying, don't sign the contract, we will do it, and we will do it for free.
"I cannot see us paying for a service we can get done free," said Ollie Lunasco with Oahu Pig Hunters Association.
The city would get to keep the more than $50,000 and in exchange the hunters get the pigs.
"All the pigs we catch are consumed. If it's baby pigs we usually give them away for people to raise them," said Lunasco.
Since 2007, the USDA has been euthanizing the pigs and dumping them at a landfill. The legalities of hunting at the city's botanical garden is tying up the offer.
"If the city allows them to come on city property we need them to sign liability waivers. There's also issues with the meat, its not raised in a farm. People obviously eat feral pigs on the island a lot, but they will have to take responsibility for it," said Broder Van Dyke.
The city says it expects to move forward with a decision early next year.
If hunting is allowed, the pigs would have to be caught in cages. Snares, guns and dogs would not be allowed.
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